Personal style may appear to come easier to some more than others, but it is accessible to all. Step inside the closets of these local style enthusiasts and take note on how to build your wardrobe this fall.
Styled by Abdiel Gonzalez + Photography by Dan Austin
The Florida fall style conundrum has crippled many locals for years, and understandably so. Retailers feed us wool pants, chunky sweaters, and pea coats beginning in August completely oblivious to the fact that it’s 80 degrees through December. It’s torture really. We flip through the pages of our favorite magazine’s special September Fashion issue and want so bad to layer with an Allsaints leather biker jacket or Ralph Lauren cable knit sweater too, but we’re quickly slapped back to reality by Mother Nature.
Rather than adding salt to the wound or doing the annual “Florida Fall Style Guide,” I thought we’d try something different by stepping into the closets of two of my favorite local style gurus who live normal lives like you and me. So, for a practical style guide, we’ll take a look at their go-to fall fashion looks, hear what inspires wardrobe choices, and allow them to debunk a few style myths to get you ready to conquer your fall closet battle.
“I believe if you take care of the way you present yourself, it shows a lot about how one feels about oneself. I think if a person puts time and love into the way they look, they have style.” -Chloe
Featuring: Mr. Tim Cox + Ms. Chloe Carpenter
What do you do for a living, and how long have you been a Lakeland resident?
TIM: I’m the director of creative services for Publix, and I’ve been a Lakeland resident for 37 wonderful years.
CHLOE: I’m a first-grade teacher at Philip O’Brien Elementary. I have been in Lakeland for seven years, four of those being in school at Florida Southern College, and back and forth to my hometown in Minnesota.
How would you define “style?”
TIM: Style is a form of individual expression.
CHLOE: Style to me is putting in effort and caring about one’s appearance. Of course, everyone has (and deserves) lazy days, but I believe if you take care of the way you present yourself, it shows a lot about how one feels about oneself. I think if a person puts time and love into the way they look, they have style.
How would you describe your style?
TIM: Simple. Classic with a bit of an edge.
CHLOE: I would say exotic-chic. I’m all about wearing something nobody has ever seen before. I love bold, ornate, and eye-catching pieces with vibrant colors, intricate details, and fascinating prints. I usually like to pair something bright and patterned with something a little more subdued, or with a complementary color. I don’t have a large collection of jewelry, but I love stand-out pieces like K. Scott [Kristy Scott’s line sold at 5th and Hall].
“Regarding clothing, style shouldn’t be confused with fashion. Although one’s “style” may be to wear the latest fashion, the two aren’t necessarily the same. In other words, you don’t have to chase the latest fashion trends to have style. I think it’s way more interesting when someone puts together a look that is uniquely theirs. That, to me, is style.”
Where do you go for style inspiration? Is it a person, place, blog, publication, etc.?
TIM: I often get inspired by the unexpected, so I’m always observing. But I routinely check out blogs like The Sartorialist and A Continuous Lean. And I always pay attention to Sid Mashburn and David Coggins.
CHLOE: I get style inspiration from so many different avenues, it’s hard to pinpoint. I don’t spend any time on Instagram or Pinterest. I seek inspiration mostly from real people I see in person. My style tends to change based on who I’m spending the most time with. I also like to get style inspiration from old shows or movies, and I’m always looking on Vogue Australia’s website to see what they’re wearing since they’re always two seasons ahead of us.
What style motto do you live by?
TIM: Keep it simple. This influences my decisions and behavior in nearly every area of my life.
CHLOE: Wear what makes you feel good.
What item in your closet can you not live without?
TIM: I could live without any of them. But my favorite is probably my Alden Indy boots.
CHLOE: My soft, butterscotch-colored, knee-high leather boots
What three things should every guy/girl have in his wardrobe?
A good pair of classic leather shoes with leather soles. Lace ups. Oxfords, derbies, or brogues
A navy blazer that is properly fitted
A light-blue, button-down-collar Oxford
One chosen outfit that makes you feel your best, even if you’re having a bad hair day
Something you’ve put away that is suitable to wear for a wedding/fancy dinner/event, so you never show up underdressed
3. Something cashmere
What style myth would you like to debunk for everyone?
TIM: Regarding clothing, style shouldn’t be confused with fashion. Although one’s “style” may be to wear the latest fashion, the two aren’t necessarily the same. In other words, you don’t have to chase the latest fashion trends to have style. I think it’s way more interesting when someone puts together a look that is uniquely theirs. That, to me, is style.
Something else to consider: chasing trends or fads can get expensive, not necessarily a good investment as you often end up with throw-away clothes. I’ve developed an appreciation for buying better-quality classics that will last. I don’t aspire to be described as trendy.
CHLOE: “Polka dots and stripes don’t go together.” Mixing patterns is a great way to show individuality!
What is your favorite place(s) to shop?
TIM: Sid Mashburn in Atlanta
CHLOE: I love to shop at vintage and consignment stores. Some of my favorites are Top Buttons, What’s New Consignment, and 360 Unlimited in Lakeland. I don’t have any qualms about wearing used clothing at all. I love finding things that are from a different era or a different season because they are most likely to make a statement, versus on-trend styles that come and go so rapidly. I also love local boutiques, like 5th and Hall, and Hattie’s Branches in Lakeland.
What fall trend are you most excited for?
TIM: Although I pay attention to trends, I can’t say that I get excited about them. As I said, I don’t really invest much in trends. But I am looking forward to cooler weather and being able to wear some layers. And cords!
CHLOE: Leather, wool, opaque tights, boots, and deep jewel tones — all in one outfit.